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Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence with Soy

Breast cancer just suffered another major blow. A landmark study published in the December 9, 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Association (JAMA) showed a significant reduction in recurrence of and death from breast cancer in women with a high intake of soy food.

In an article titled Soy Food Intake and Breast Cancer Survival, the authors studied 5042 breast cancer patients over a median period of 3.9 years. They found a fairly linear relationship between soy intake and breast cancer recurrence and death due to this cancer. In other words, women who consumed the most soy food had the lowest risk of breast cancer recurrence or death. However, this association seems to peak at an intake of approximately 11 grams/day of soy protein or 40 mg/day of soy isoflavone. The association may even rebound beyond these levels.

Want facts? Read them and rejoice! The adjusted 4-year death rate was 10.3% versus 7.4% for women in the lowest compared to the highest level of soy protein intake. For recurrence of breast cancer, the rates were 11.2% and 8%, respectively.

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2009, over 192,000 women be diagnosed with breast cancer and over 40,000 women will die from this disease. If this study figures prove true, literally thousands of lives could be saved simply by an easy, inexpensive, and often delicious dietary change!

Surprisingly, this study also showed that women in the study with the highest level of soy intake actually had the lowest rate of death or cancer recurrence regardless of their use of tamoxifen, the popular drug used to prevent recurrence of breast cancer! In other words, tamoxifen did not appear to add any additional benefit for women who consumed the greatest amount of soy food. While more studies need to be done to confirm this, these findings are, to say the least, overwhelming! Yet, if you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, stop taking tamoxifen based on this study alone. Speak with your doctor and get her recommendation. Though this study is beyond encouraging, no single scientific study should stand alone. If the results cannot be reproduced in future, chances are something about the study was flawed.

In the meantime, this article gives breast cancer survivors the go ahead to stock up on soy milk, experiment with new tofu recipes, try new soy products and hopefully, their efforts may translate into a vibrant life, free of recurrence of the cancer that once robbed them of their sleep, their happiness, and even their peace of mind.


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Content copyright © 2013 by A. Maria Hester, M.D.. All rights reserved.
This content was written by A. Maria Hester, M.D.. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Patricia Villani, MPA, PhD for details.

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